August 2

Building in Peacetime

II Chronicles 14:2-7 Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God … He also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet under him. And he built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest; he had no war in those years, because the LORD had given him rest. Therefore he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and make walls around them, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us, because we have sought the LORD our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered.

How should we handle times of peace? This may seem an odd question, as we are much more sensitive to what happens in times of war. In times of spiritual war, we have a strong sense of what is necessary. We must defend, we must fight, we must respond to attacks. We dig into the Word. We pray. We let the Holy Spirit search our hearts. We are open to repentance, and we search for His wisdom, often crying out to Him for help.

We often feel alive in spiritual warfare, as the things of God become very real to us during these times. But what should be going on when we aren’t at war? For a while, of course, we might have to take some time to get our spiritual bearings again, to recuperate, to reflect on what we’ve learned about God, others and ourselves.

But when things get back to “normal,” what do we do? What happens when we’re no longer fighting a spiritual battle? (Of course, we are in one sense always in a spiritual battle, but as in our examples in the Old Testament, there are seasons of warfare and seasons of peace.)

King Asa gives us an example of what we should do: we should build. Is there a weakness in you or your character that needs fortifying? Is there a relationship that needs to be stronger? Is there a relationship that needs repair, or restoration? Are there areas of study (theology, doctrine, history, famous Christians) that you finally have the time to dig into? Ask the Lord to show you how best to use the “downtime” that you might be blessed to have.

We should take advantage of these times when we’re not fighting a specific battle to build up others and ourselves. We never know what is in store for us, or how long we have. Just two verses after the passage above, for example, we read: “Then Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and he came to Mareshah” (v. 9) Asa turned to the Lord and won that war. In every way, spiritually and naturally, he was prepared to fight and to trust the Lord, because he had built between battles.

We often see our lives as spiritual battles with points of rest in between. Can we begin to look at it as times of building interrupted by occasional warfare?

Prayer: Lord, help me to see that You’ve given me periods of rest when You do. I confess that sometimes I don’t recognize them as times of opportunity to build. Direct me in how and where I can build during those seasons, and thank You that You use those times to prepare me for what’s next.

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